Thunder Trade Targets: Part Two

Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 11:57 pm
By: News 9

No need for an intro, let's just right back into it. If you missed part one, check it out here.

Al Harrington

Harrington has been a productive player in the league a long time, most recently providing instant offense off the Denver Nuggets' bench. He's a guy that can match up with either James or Bosh defensively while providing energy and scoring to the second unit. He was traded to Orlando as a part of the four-way Dwight Howard deal in the offseason, and hasn't yet played a game for the Magic. That's where this gets complicated.

Harrington underwent surgery on his right knee in the offseason and is still recovering, but recently told reporters he will be back by the trade deadline because, in his words, "I know the only way they can move me is to show I'm healthy."

Harrington is right. He won't get dealt unless he passes a physical, and unless he's ready to do that, he's staying put.

Bottom line is Harrington is a veteran with value and the Magic are rebuilding, so he's the perfect candidate to be dealt. His $6.6 million salary wouldn't hurt the cap too badly and the Thunder shouldn't have to give up Lamb or the Raptors' pick in the deal.

Kevin Garnett

This one would make the long-shot hall of fame, but I'm including him in case Presti really wants to go all-in. First of all, as long as the Boston Celtics continue to live under the impression that they're title contenders, it will likely be nearly impossible to pry Garnett away. But at some point if Boston decides to give in to its fate and makes KG available, he would immediately give the Thunder the definitive edge over Miami and OKC would become the title favorites for at least the next few seasons.

Like Artest and Cousins, Garnett is a bit of a head case. He got into a dispute with Carmelo Anthony during a recent matchup against the Knicks, reportedly telling Anthony that his wife (NY media personality La La) tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios. That piles on top of Garnett screaming "Happy Mother's Day, (expletive)" to Tim Duncan during a Mother's Day matchup in 1999; a reference to Duncan's mom dying of breast cancer. If that's not enough, Garnett reportedly called Charlie Villanueva, who has a skin disease that doesn't allow him to grow hair, a "cancer patient" during a game in 2010.

You get the point. But while some may question his methods, nobody can question his effectiveness, will to win and pure hatred of the Miami Heat.

In order to acquire him in the first place, it would likely take a three-way deal to make the salaries and talent match up (Garnett makes around $12 million). Boston GM Danny Ainge's recent comments about wanting his team to get away from small ball leads you to believe the Celtics might be in the market for a center. In any potential three-way deal, OKC would likely have to part with some valuable assets, specifically Lamb, the Raptors' pick and likely some other pieces. But if they sent that package along with Perkins to, say, Cleveland, while the Cavs shipped Anderson Varejao to Boston and Garnett came to OKC, it COULD work.

Speaking of…

Anderson Varejao

Varejao is one of the most active bigs in the NBA. He can run the floor, rebound with the best of them, score efficiently without demanding a lot of shots and play excellent defense because of his athleticism and the fact that he annoys everyone to death.

Reports from Cleveland say the Cavs are interested in moving him to acquire more prospects/picks, get rookie center Tyler Zeller more playing time, and free up cap space to potentially bring LeBron back for the 2014/15 season. If OKC could package Perkins with some combo of Lamb, Perry Jones and maybe its first-round pick (likely 29th or 30th), it might be enough to snag Varejao.

The trade would give OKC an athletic 4/5 hybrid that does all of Perkins' dirty work while adding a lot more production in heavier minutes. Brooks could work the rotation so that there's never a time where Varejao or Ibaka wasn't anchoring the interior defense, essentially eliminating Hasheem Thabeet's minutes entirely (that's a good thing).

The only real snag in this is Varejao's recent leg injury. Reports from Cleveland say he'll be out six to eight weeks, which runs right up to the deadline. The situation is identical to Harrington's: if he can't pass a physical, he can't be dealt. But if he is ready by the deadline, his price could be discounted due to his recent injury trouble.

Antawn Jamison

If Oklahoma City is interested, Jamison might be one of the most available guys out there. Of course, this, like the potential Artest trade, would depend on the Lakers' willingness to deal with a conference rival, but if they are, this makes some sense.

Jamison is an active 6-foot-8, 3/4 hybrid who could help the Thunder in a small-ball lineup. He can score from pretty much anywhere on the court, including behind the arc, but struggles in back-to-the-basket scenarios due to his lack of size.

Acquiring Jamison would mean to take a different approach than pretty much everyone else on this list. He's a below-average defender at the 3 or the 4, which wouldn't be ideal if he's forced into matching up with the likes of LeBron.

But of the guys the Thunder could acquire, Jamison would likely cost the least. His playing time with the Lakers has been pitiful and he isn't happy about it. He recently explained his shock at his lack of minutes and wants an explanation. If D'Antoni isn't interested in his services, the Lakers will likely trade him or cut him, because their current arrangement is disrespectful to the 15-year veteran considering LA promised him playing time when he signed his one-year, $1.3 million deal.

I can tell you first-hand; you won't find a much nicer person than Jamison. He's such a good teammate that even if his on-court impact would be limited, his locker room impact would be awesome (think Derek Fisher). It would be a zero-risk, high-reward scenario for the Thunder.

Darren Collison

Here's the exception to the forward rule. One spot the Thunder could use an upgrade all-day, every-day is the backup point guard spot. Eric Maynor got his shot, lost it, and now Reggie Jackson has his. But Jackson isn't a point guard; he's an undersized wing player with good quickness and ball-handling ability, but little ability to make the players around him better.

Collison is a true point with experience playing solid minutes in big games. He's logged heavy minutes in 16 playoff games in the past two seasons, averaging nine points and a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's a career 86 percent free-throw shooter and would provide solid defense at the 1 spot. Acquiring Collison would reunite Westbrook with his college teammate and allow Russ to play off the ball during stretches. It would also give OKC a proven point guard that can play heavy minutes if Westbrook gets into foul trouble or injured.

Mark Cuban recently told Dallas writer Eddie Sefko that there was a 100 percent chance the Mavericks will make a move before the deadline, which isn't surprising considering the team's poor performance and Cuban's small tolerance for losing. Cuban's plan all along was to collect a group of veterans with expiring contracts for this season so than he can afford to go land a big fish next Summer. He could dump Collison's $2.3 million salary off to the Thunder pick up Eric Maynor's expiring contract with a second-round pick thrown in.

Deal or no deal. The Thunder is going to be there at the end either way. But at this point, being there isn't enough; it's about finishing. After dealing James Harden for Kevin Martin, I'd understand if Presti might be hesitant to shake-up the team's chemistry any further, and I wouldn't blame him for standing pat if no good deal is available. Remember, these are only options if the asking price is acceptable and if the other team is willing to cooperate.